Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 12, 2013

Graham Spanier, the former president of Pennsylvania State University, filed papers Thursday indicating that he will sue Louis Freeh, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for defamation, The Centre Daily Times reported. The charges concern the report Freeh and his consulting group did for Penn State about the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The report was highly critical of Spanier and other top Penn State administrators. Freeh declined to comment on the Spanier suit.

 

July 12, 2013

The University of Wisconsin System has earned approval from its regional accreditor for several competency-based programs, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. The low-cost, self-paced degrees, which will feature prior-learning assessment, include a handful of bachelor tracks, a certificate and a general education associate degree from the University of Wisconsin Colleges, a two-year system. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association signed off on the competency-based degrees, which the system calls the "UW Flexible Option." The system will now apply to the U.S. Department of Education to seek approval to participate in federal financial aid programs.

July 12, 2013

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed legislation that could require Bryant University to reimburse the town of Smithfield for police and fire department service, The Providence Journal reported. The legislation requires that university and town officials try to negotiate an agreement. If they fail to reach a deal, the town can start charging the university on March 1. Bryant, like many private colleges, said it does not object to discussing ways to compensate the town, but that it is inappropriate for a state government to force a private, nonprofit college to pay its locality. The university, which urged Governor Chafee to veto the legislation, said it will negotiate with the town but may also consider litigation against the law.

 

July 12, 2013

Lawyers for the families of two University of Alabama in Huntsville employees murdered in 2010 by Amy Bishop have charged that senior university officials knew of the risk that she could become violent, and protected themselves without warning others, AL.com reported. The families are suing various administrators and former administrators for failing to take action against Bishop, who was denied tenure before she killed departmental colleagues. University officials have said that Bishop, not administrators, is responsible for the tragedy.

July 12, 2013

Tufts University is attracting attention for one of its new essay prompts for undergraduate admissions, The Boston Globe reported. The prompt: "The ancient Romans started it when they coined the phrase 'Carpe diem.' Jonathan Larson proclaimed 'No day but today!' and most recently, Drake explained You Only Live Once (YOLO). Have you ever seized the day? Lived like there was no tomorrow? Or perhaps you plan to shout YOLO while jumping into something in the future. What does #YOLO mean to you?"

 

 

July 12, 2013

The University of Chicago is moving its Asian M.B.A. program from Singapore to Hong Kong, The Wall Street Journal reported. The move reflects the growing demand from people in China for M.B.A. programs, and a desire to be closer to China.

 

July 12, 2013

Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, will become the next president of the University of California System, The Los Angeles Times reported. The choice is unexpected because Napolitano, formerly governor of Arizona, is not an academic. But the Times reported that board members believe her Cabinet experience will help the system dealing with the federal government on many research issues.

In her current position, she has spoken about the importance of science and technology in promoting national interests. She published a Views piece in Inside Higher Ed in 2011 on this theme, adapted from a lecture she gave at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

At homeland security, she formed an academic advisory committee, created a website to help foreign students learn their options for enrolling in the United States and pushed for legislation to help "DREAM" students who were brought to the United States by their parents as children, without legal documentation.

July 12, 2013

Ontario’s top court has upheld a lower court ruling finding that George Brown College, in Toronto, was negligent in publishing a misleading description of its graduate international business management program, clearing the way for the awarding of damages to students, CBC reported. Almost 120 students, two-thirds of them international, had enrolled in the program, which was billed in a 2007 course calendar as providing students "with the opportunity to complete three industry designations/certifications in addition to the George Brown college graduate certificate." The students were distressed, however, to find that they would not automatically earn industry designations in international trade, customs services and international freight forwarding upon graduating from the program. While the university argued that a “reasonable student” who did his or research could be expected to have known that, Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba determined that the description "could plausibly be interpreted as meaning exactly what it said."

"Having paid a substantial tuition fee and related travel and living expenses, they could not afford the additional time or money needed to pursue the three accreditations on their own.” 

July 12, 2013

Blackboard, the classroom software company, may be heading in the right direction, judging from a question and answer session with top executives the company hosted for customers on Thursday.

The unusual ritual at Bb World of subjecting executives to public and not always positive feedback from clients has served as a big griping session for perturbed customers in previous years. The company has lost market share over the last several years, according to annual surveys by the Campus Computing Project, though Blackboard remains the largest provider of learning management systems to American colleges.

This week, clients who stood up to talk to the executives generally tossed aside those overarching gripes as things of the past. Blackboard CEO Jay Bhatt joined the company seven months ago following the departure of Michael Chasen, a co-founder.

Jean Mankoff, the director of learning technology support at Texas Woman's University who has attended 14 of the company's conferences, praised Ray Henderson, who joined the company four years ago. She said the company had lost its collegial feeling for several years until recently.

The company is not without issues, however. Mankoff said the company had too many different product lines and sometimes she feels like she is working with different companies when she tries to purchase each product. That's something Bhatt said he is working to fix. Another user complained a featured in one of the disparate product lines had been neglected.

Another customer complained the software has become so feature-laden that faculty have trouble using it, something Bhatt also said he is working to deal with. 

 

July 12, 2013

WASHINGTON -- A group of former presidents and chancellors of historically black colleges and universities have sent a letter to President Obama requesting more resources to make their institutions "comparable and competitive" with predominantly white colleges. The letter praises Obama's overall accomplishments, but goes on to say that "addressing the plight of the HBCUs has to be among the highest priorities" for the administration. Among the requests: locating the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities within the White House rather than the Education Department, and raising its director to the level of a deputy secretary; using the "bully pulpit" of the presidency to encourage support, including grants, for HBCUs; and directing the Office for Civil Rights to consider lawsuits against states that are in violation of the desegregation agreement.
 

Pages

Back to Top